Apr 4, 2010

The Missing Apartment of Holly Golightly

“I am always drawn back to places where I lived, the houses and their neighborhoods. For instance, there is a brownstone in the East Seventies where, during the early years of the war, I had my first New York apartment.”

The opening paragraph of Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a vivid description of his apartment. It is only one among the myriad other physical spaces that Capote describes in his story, each in great detail: Joe Bell’s bar, the New York Public Library and the interiors of Woolworth’s. All of these spaces find due place, albeit in slightly altered forms, in Blake Edwards’ eponymous 1961 film. But there is one space – absolutely vital to the film – that is never described in Capote’s novella: Holly Golightly’s apartment.

In the film, we first see Holly’s apartment when Paul Varjack rings the buzzer below. Until now we have only seen a sophisticated Holly, strolling down Lexington Avenue in a black Givenchy sheath and oversized pearls. Our first peek into her apartment presents a shocking contrast: she wakes up among rumpled bed linen in an incredibly messy room, a cat nonchalantly strolling among the piles of stuff. Who is this woman, we ask ourselves, whose interior life is so different from her exterior life?